I’m not sure I would recommend lockdown, but one of the best bits was being able to buy a pass for Celtic Connections.
Not having to go to Glasgow and not having to choose just one or two concerts out of the long list on offer was brilliant. Nineteen nights of superb music was great, and while nothing can beat “live” performance, it was so good to hear old favourites and to experience new-to-me as well as new-on-the-scene individuals and bands.
I have enjoyed listening to Anna Massie for a few years now. Originally from Fortrose on the Black Isle, Anna plays with numerous groups and on her own and I think she’s just amazing.
During lockdown she created a video diary which she called “The Black Isle Correspondent”. In it she blethers to the camera about anything and everything and it is wonderful. I’m not sure she has quite as many followers as Andrew Cotter, the sports commentator and his two labradors Olive and Mabel, but it must be pretty close.
Not only do I love her witty observations, but I love the ditty she sings as her signature tune which ends with the line: “If you’re feeling grumpy, you’ll find some comp’ny here.”
For Anna the diary was, no doubt, a way of helping her to get through what was a very lean time for every musician. It kept her in touch with her audience and was a bit of light relief in amongst all the anxiousness and worry about having to make ends meet. I have to say though, I never found her the least bit grumpy in any of the episodes.
I wish the same could be said for people more generally!
We’re grumpy because we’re grieving
It might be just me, but it feels as though everyone is a wee bit shorter tempered than they usually are these days. Social media can be incredibly grumpy. Or worse. But it is not just online. People seem to be quicker than ever to criticise and there seems to be an awful lot of impatience around. You can see it in shops and cafes, amongst work colleagues and, dare I say it, even in churches.
The Covid rules don’t help. Or at least apparent inconsistencies in the Covid rules don’t help. Why, for example, can you sit down without a mask in a cafe for a couple of hours, relatively close to other people, but you still have to wear a mask in church?
But to be honest, I think the grumpiness points to something much deeper. Bear with me on this one, will you?
They say it takes on average, around five years to come to terms with the death of someone close. For some people it can take a lot longer than that. For others, not quite so long. Whatever length of time it takes, the process carries with it, a whole host of emotions that flood in, in no particular order; in multiple ways and multiple times. Things like guilt and anger, questioning and denial.
While most of us go out of our way to cut the bereaved and those who have experienced other sorts of trauma some slack, we don’t seem to realise just how big a deal these last 18 months have been for everyone
People who have survived any traumatic experience face a similar emotional journey and, I think, as individuals and as a society, we are on that journey right now.
Life has been turned upside down and inside out
Make no mistake about it, this has been a traumatic time for us all, with life-changing consequences for everyone. Even those who feel they have had things relatively easy in this last while have had to find a new way of living. While for the vast majority, it feels as though life has been turned upside down and inside out.
What once was taken for granted is now no longer. And that is across all ages. And while most of us go out of our way to cut the bereaved and those who have experienced other sorts of trauma some slack, we don’t seem to realise just how big a deal these last 18 months have been for everyone and we are slower than we ought to be to be kind to ourselves and to one another post-Covid.
The fact is, though, that we have all lost parts of our lives we have loved and we are mourning them and it is not an easy thing to do. It takes time – a long time – to adjust.
We will come through, but in the meantime, we really do need to be kinder to ourselves and to each other – and to show a bit more understanding. What do you think?
The Very Rev Susan Brown is minister of Dornoch Cathedral and the former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland